Sunday, October 25, 2009

Córdoba

Hi everyone. This year in the middle of midterms, I took a weekend trip to Córdoba. I'm not really accustomed to vacationing while I should be studying, but I guess that's what studying abroad is for. Anyways, I had a great time and loved Córdoba!

To start off the trip, we took the Ave, which is the high speed train from Madrid to Córdoba. It took about 2 hours. I was told that on a bus it would've taken about 5 or 6 hours...we were moving pretty quickly.

From there, we dropped our stuff at the hotel and went to La casa sefardí. They told us about the Jewish culture there. It's nice here...Jews, Christians, and Muslims all live here. And it works! What a pleasure. There was a great display about the Hamsa symbol at casa sefardí since it's an Arab symbol and a Jewish symbol. The judería is pretty large in Córdoba.

We also noticed that gardening is a little different here. Many of the flower pots are hanging on the walls in patterned displays. Yes, we took pictures.

In the afternoon, we went to La Mezquita and saw the different sections of the church that had been built through the years. Lots of arches, great decoration. This was the first church where we were allowed to take photos.That night, we went to a flamenco concert! I've seen a little bit of flamenco back home, but it was really exciting to see flamenco in the proper environment. It's a very relaxed, interactive atmosphere. Live music - 2 guitars and 2 singers/clappers/foot stompers. There were solo dances, partners, and a trio. The partnered couple, which opened the show, had castinets! Other dancers used shawls and fans as props, and others just danced. When the dancers did something awesome, the people in the audience and the musicians would shout, "Olé" or "agua". I'm not sure why they say "water". I'll have to find out.

Only one of the dancers was male. He was really great to watch - very dramatic use of his head to accent his steps, but never overly dramatic. It fit perfectly. He was a good turner too. And their feet - OMG they move soooo fast.

The next day we ate breakfast at the hotel. "BU Buffet" People here are really intense about eating ham (jamón). It's everywhere. So I had yogurt/bread and butter/and apple, and about a million Maria cookies. The Maria cookies are everywhere too. Decently tasty, better when dipped in Nutella. :-)

After breakfast, we toured Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. There, there was a beautiful garden. Whoever designed the fountains must've had in mind that people would want to take pictures, because there were several perfect places for photos. A lot of people were taking wedding photos there too.After that we browsed some shops, I bought a serving platter, we met back at the hotel, and took the Ave (yay!) back to Madrid. What a great weekend! Now I have to continue studying for my translation midterm.

Oh, wait! I almost forgot!! On Friday afternoon, we went to a museum of ancient torture instruments! It was creepy, and disturbing, but sooooo interesting and fascinating! We saw head crushers, saws, a guillotine, stretchers for dislocation, chastity belts, thumb crushers, and more. We sort of wondered what was wrong with the person who invented these torture devices. We're glad we are living today instead of back then. Like, really glad. They also had spiked belts on display, and spiked chairs with adjustable straps to inflict more pain, and closets of spikes to close people in. It was mostly used for interrogation, but I guess when they thought someone was a witch, confessing to whatever crime they wanted didn't really help.

Here's the best picture of me ever. The people at the museum told me the thing didn't lift, but Sima said someone lifted it for her earlier. So, I stuck my head through the thing and just sort of hoped I could get it back out. Brilliant idea, I know. Well, here I am!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Sounds like you are having a great time! Glad you got out of the stockade (I think that's what that device is called - I'm not sure.)

    Anyway, I especially was thinking of you yesterday (and my Aunt Sandra asked about you too!), when she and I were at the Joffrey Ballet together. They did Othello - it was AMAZING. Boy, those male dancers in their tights - whew - what amazing glutes they have!!! :~)

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